Peak inside our bag of tricks – a review of some of our favorite evidence-based supplements + medications
At the heart of it, weight loss and maintenance is rooted in a healthy mindful diet, regular exercise, and successful stress management. Yet, what do you do when you are already doing all of those things and the scale still refuses to budge? Firstly, I remind our patients that fitness, not fatness, predicts lifespan and chronic-disease-free years. If your genetics simply have given you a high BMI, but you are strong and fit, perhaps you should give yourself a break!
But if you are still trying to undo the “Covid-19lb” or have had changes in your metabolism or lifestyle patterns, we offer some tips and tricks to give you a competitive edge over your metabolism. Here is a partial list of some of our favorite medications and supplements.
Semaglutide is an exciting science-based strategy. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 agonist and was first approved in the U.S in 2017 as a method to improve glycemic control in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Recently, it has been shown that once weekly high-dose semaglutide injections are effective for patients who are having difficulty losing weight. It now carries a FDA indication as an adjunct to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in overweight or obese adult patients. The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the STEP trial which revealed more than 50 percent of trial participants lost 15 percent of their body weight, and between 33 to 40 percent of participants lost 20 percent of their body weight. We’ve been using it with patients for a few years and most are very satisfied with the appetite surpression and weight loss.
Curious how it works? GLP-1 is a hormone produced in the small intestine that stimulates insulin secretion and inhibits glucagon secretion, thereby lowering blood sugar. It was first discovered in Gila Monster lizards! Newer, longer-acting GLP-1 agonists, like semaglutide, have a balanced effect on lowering post-meal glucose levels as well as fasting glucose levels. Additionally, it effectively decreases appetite and therefore reduces daily caloric intake. Read more here: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-chronic-weight-management-first-2014
We offer a compounded version in which semaglutide is combined with vitamin B12. This combination has been shown in studies to assist with the tolerance of treatment with GLP-1 agonists. Two common adverse reactions associated with semaglutide are nausea and hypophagia. These reactions have been shown to be significantly reduced when used in conjunction with Vitamin B12.
People interested in adding this to their Science of Slim membership can consult with one of our doctors to find out if it is right for you.
Peptides are an exciting new tool to optimize weight loss and physical performance.
Briefly, one of my favorite peptide combinations for weight loss is Sermorelin/Glycine – Sermorelin works to burn fat by stimulating the production and release of hormones by the pituitary. Glycine plays an important role in the control of hypothalamic-pituitary function, specifically impacting growth hormone release. Together, Sermorelin and Glycine make the ideal synergistic combination to increase IGF1 and help your body to burn fat. Sermorelin is similar in structure to growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH). It’s commonly utilized to optimize growth hormone levels in adults, which we measure by testing IGF-1 and looking for an increase. Sermorelin works to improve hormonal balance, enhance energy, burn fat, increase lean muscle, improve sleep quality, enhance memory, sex drive and more. It achieves this by stimulating the production, and release, of hormones by the pituitary.
Glycine is an amino acid that can also act as a neurotransmitter. Research has shown that it can also help to stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone without increasing prolactin levels. When these two compounds are coupled together they create a synergistic effect to maximize their efficacy.
Commonly called our cuddle hormone, oxytocin has been shown to play a role in weight loss. It works primarily by decreasing appetite and increasing mood. It also has positive effects on sexual health, so for some it can be a great option. Learn the technical details here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5868755/
This approach to weight loss has fallen out of favor as more effective, better tolerated approaches have become available (such as semaglutide), but it works well for some and Dr. Oberg’s time-tested protocol works well. HCG is done for 40 days. For women, the diet is optimally started after menses begins, but as long as you are at least 10 days before next cycle, you can start. Men can start anytime.
The protocol is a little funny, but to make the program work, you have to follow it. For the first 3 days, you eat abundantly (expand stomach and increase triglycerides) and start taking HCG injections. Starting day 4, people follow a 500 calorie plan and do injections. After last injection on day 40, continue the restricted diet for 72 hours further. Then gradually increase calories while staying in ketosis (increase portion sizes or add 2 similar sized meals for 4 small meals per day).
It takes about 3 weeks to stabilize weight after the 40 day period. If you gain >2lb after stopping the injections, follow the 500 calorie plan for 1 day to return to your goal weight. This approach takes a lot of support and coaching. If you want to try it, we’re here with you!
VitaLab’s custom weight loss supplement, includes key science-based ingredients to support metabolism and hormone balance in a comprehensive way. The nutrients calm cortisol, to normalize fat metabolism, and stimulate basal metabolic rate to promote lean muscle and fat loss. Further, it helps balance blood sugar, thereby reducing cravings and helping you adhere to a low calorie healthy diet. We recommend pairing this with any weight loss approach you try.
If you prefer more of a mix-and-match approach, Ccinical studies have identified many nutrients and botanical medicines that can support weight loss – the trick is using the right ones for your individual situation. Here is a sample of some of Dr. Erica’s favorites, or learn more about the science here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32962190/
Restore Resting Energy Expenditure
- Green tea extract
- Fish oil
- MCT Oil/Caprylic Acid/Exogenous ketones
Restore Healthy Adipocyte (Fat Cell) Signaling
- Irvingia gabonensis
- Sphaeranthus indicus and Mangosteen
- Chromium picolinate and Biotin
- Methionine, Inositol, and Choline
Restore Brain Serotonin/Suppress Hunger Signals
- L-tryptophan or 5HTP
- Green tea
Control Rate of Carbohydrate Absorption and Glucose Synthesis
- Seaweed extracts
- White kidney bean extract
- Psyllium fiber
- Pharmaceutical support
Restore Youthful Hormone Balance
- 7-Keto® DHEA
- Pharmaceutical support
Restore Insulin Sensitivity
- Rosehip extract
- Pharmaceutical support
Of course, there are many other tips and tricks, and we’d be happy to help you determine what is right for you! At VitaLab, our Science of Slim weight loss program uses the best clinical research to give you individualized recommendations along with many tools for support and lifestyle. If we can help you on your weight loss journey, please schedule a consultation.